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19 Gardening and Landscaping Questions, Answered by an Skilled


Final month I requested our Wit & Delight Instagram viewers to share their gardening and landscaping questions with us. Nicely, pals, do I’ve solutions. I used to be lucky sufficient to talk with Jessie Jacobson, the proprietor and landscaping and gardening skilled over at Tonkadale Greenhouse, considered one of my favourite locations to go to. (Tonkadale can be the driving power behind my current entrance yard replace!). Jessie was form sufficient to share a few of her experience in answering your high landscaping and gardening questions.

Basic Gardening Suggestions

Q: What’s the #1 piece of gardening recommendation you want folks knew OR the #1 mistake you see most frequently?

A: Let’s not name them errors. Your intention is to plant crops and that’s by no means a mistake. We undoubtedly see gardeners get discouraged by making an attempt to do an excessive amount of directly. It’s at all times vital to depend on the specialists at your native backyard heart to be sure you plant the precise crops to your location, amend your soil on the time of planting, and proceed to water newly planted perennials, bushes, and shrubs till the bottom freezes stable within the fall.

All the time bear in mind, the enjoyment is within the journey. Gardening is a factor you do over time—you study as you go, gaining momentum from small successes.

Q: Will all crops bloom once more if I prune after flowering?

A: No, not essentially. Some perennials will give a second flush after pruning, however this isn’t the case with most. Plant a mixture of perennials with early, mid, and late bloom occasions to make sure you at all times have coloration. Depart pockets for annual crops which offer flower energy all season lengthy! 

Q: What are the toughest crops to kill?

A: This actually is dependent upon the appliance. Crops which are planted in the precise location will thrive with correct planting and care throughout their first yr of firm. The best solution to kill crops is to not present sufficient water, particularly after planting. From right here, we will deduce that drought-tolerant crops are the toughest to kill! Perennials that tolerate drought embrace decorative grasses, alliums, milkweed, echinacea, and plenty of extra. Try this checklist of drought-tolerant crops!

Q: What are your ideas for planting container gardens?

A: These are my important ideas for thriving container gardens:

  1. All the time begin with wealthy, natural potting soil.
  2. Select your foliage first. This gives the structure to your design and gives coloration and curiosity even when flowering crops cycle out and in of coloration.
  3. Water, water, water.
  4. Fertilize with a bloom booster fertilizer not less than weekly.
  5. Deadhead spent blooms and don’t be afraid to pinch and trim overgrown crops all through the season. 

Q: How do I plant a backyard that appears skilled with out skilled assist?

A: Go to your native backyard heart and reap the benefits of their sources and customer support. Earlier than you go, think about your solutions to those questions:

  • What would you like your backyard to do for you or the setting?
  • Are you interested by curb attraction/elevated property worth, vitality conservation, reduce flowers, entertaining, cooking, or planting for pollinators and songbirds?
  • How a lot time do you wish to spend within the backyard every week and every season?
  • What sort of planting fashion do you favor?
  • Do you want cottage, up to date, wild, or manicured gardens?

Typically talking, I’d suggest beginning with a small space, planting in multiples, selecting a coloration palette, various bloom time, bloom dimension, and bloom form, mixing perennials, bushes, and shrubs, together with evergreens, and leaving pockets for annuals and herbs. 

Q: I’ve crops picked out however don’t know learn how to design a structure for the perfect visible impression. What’s your recommendation?

A: Right here’s what I recommend:

  1. Plant in mass, as this method has probably the most visible impression.
  2. Group like crops collectively.
  3. Plant extra of every selection, and fewer varieties in whole.
  4. Be sure to incorporate bushes, shrubs, and evergreens in your plan. Single specimens supply a spot to your eyes to relaxation.
  5. Think about including sculptural components like a path or a well-placed boulder.

Q: Hydrangea care! Are hydrangeas well worth the funding?

A: Hydrangeas are at all times well worth the funding! We’ve got an incredible weblog publish, “All About Hydrangeas,” to reply your entire hydrangea questions!


Q: What are the perfect small bushes to plant beside my dwelling?

A: Bushes planted close to the house are thought-about foundational plantings. Bushes and shrubs soften harsh architectural strains and might present shade and insulation which promotes vitality effectivity. Bushes or shrubs planted near the home ought to be smaller in stature, complementing the design of the home whereas not blocking home windows or fascinating options. Here’s a checklist of bushes and shrubs to think about:

  • Serviceberry, particularly “Standing Ovation” or “Autumn Brilliance”
  • Hydrangea bushes or requirements
  • Smaller evergreens (Search for the phrase dwarf or compact, or strive Golden Hinoki False.)
  • Cypress
  • Golden Duke Japanese Hemlock
  • Japanese redbud
  • Pagoda dogwood
  • Viburnum
  • Lilacs, together with Bloomerang, Miss Kim, Tiny Dancer
  • Japanese maples
  • Ginkgo Jade Butterfly
  • Smoke bush
  • Azalea/rhododendron
  • Purple Leaf Sand Cherry
  • Some crabapples
  • Magnolia
  • Boxwood
  • Elderberry

Q: How do I do know what to prune from mature bushes and shrubs?

A: I’m not an skilled on pruning bushes, however I do know a bit about pruning shrubs. Listed below are the fundamentals of pruning shrubs.

Pruning is finished to enhance the shrub’s look and assist keep its pure or manicured kind, promote new progress, branching, and flowering, and promote general plant well being by bettering airflow and eradicating lifeless or diseased branches.

New Wooden or Outdated Wooden

First, we have to know if our shrubs bloom on new wooden or previous wooden. Shrubs that bloom on previous wooden set buds for subsequent yr on the finish of the rising season. Prune these shrubs after flowering to encourage new flower bud formation. These are typically spring or early summer season blooming shrubs together with lilacs forsythia, mock orange, rhododendron, azalea, weigela, and ninebark.

Shrubs that bloom on new wooden kind buds on progress through the present rising season and have a tendency to bloom mid to late summer season. Prune shrubs that bloom on previous wooden in late winter or in early spring earlier than the shrub has damaged dormancy. Examples embrace panicle hydrangea, easy hydrangea, summersweet, smoke bush, and roses.

Observe that some newer shrub varieties present blooms on new and previous wooden, together with sorts of weigela such because the Sonic Bloom collection, the Bloomerang collection of lilac, and newer steady blooming sorts of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

Pruning Suggestions

  1. Prune at a forty-five-degree angle proper above a node or aspect department with a clear, sharp pair of bypass pruners or loppers to make sure a clear and wholesome reduce. Pruning at an angle will permit water to run off the reduce and forestall pooling that will encourage illness.
  2. Prune out any lifeless, damaged, or diseased stems, spent blooms (if desired), rubbing branches, duplicate/parallel branches, and dense progress within the heart of the shrub. Take note the general form you need within the course of and maintain the branches that can assist develop or keep that construction. Don’t take away greater than one-third of the plant at one time.
  3. Rejuvenation pruning might be executed on well-established (not less than three years previous) shrubs to encourage a flush of wholesome new progress, eradicating the oldest wooden all the way down to the bottom.


Q: What’s the finest/best grass and/or plant to begin from seed and keep right here within the Twin Cities?

A: Turfgrass is needy. Copious quantities of water and fertilizer are what maintain grass trying full and fluffy. At Tonkadale we select to promote grass seed that’s licensed by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance. These grass mixes require as much as 30% much less inputs—much less water, much less fertilizer, much less chemical substances, and fewer mowing. Think about overseeding your garden with this sort of grass seed if you’re enthusiastic about conservation-friendly turf. 

An alternative choice is to plant a bee garden or native bee garden combine. The bee garden combine follows suggestions from the College of Minnesota, combining Dutch white clover, self-heal, and creeping thyme to create a seed combination that may remodel your garden right into a pollinator habitat whereas sustaining the perform and recreation related to a conventional garden. The bee garden seed combination has been proven to help greater than sixty bee species in Minnesota. Bee garden flower seed might be overseeded right into a pre-existing stand of wholesome advantageous fescue or Kentucky bluegrass turf.

The native bee garden combine makes use of all native wildflowers (self-heal, yaak yarrow, blue-eyed grass) to remodel your house garden into a fantastic mixture of turfgrass and flowers. This seed combine is designed to strengthen the longstanding evolutionary relationships we observe in nature between pollinators and the native crops they rely upon.

Learn extra about sustainable lawnscaping on Tonkadale’s weblog.

Q: How do I begin a backyard the place there may be at present grass? 

A: On this case, it’s best to take away the grass first. You’ll be able to take away turfgrass by hand with a shovel, nevertheless it’s really easy to hire a sod kicker out of your native ironmongery shop. If time is in your aspect, you’ll be able to cowl the realm with plastic for a number of weeks to kill grass for simple elimination by hand. Herbicides wouldn’t be our most well-liked methodology.

After the grass is eliminated, hire a tiller and work in compost at a fee of 1 cubic foot per ten sq. ft. Subsequent, lay edging after which it’s time to plant!

Solar and Shade

Q: What are options for a mattress the place one half will get full solar and the opposite half will get full shade?

A: Completely completely different mild necessities require completely completely different crops. In case your backyard house is steady, there might be a transition zone that’s part-sun. Use this space to plant issues in frequent with each the solar and shade space. Many can tolerate a very good quantity of solar and nonetheless carry out in a shady state of affairs. Examples embrace astilbe, Japanese forest grass, heuchera, and hosta. Don’t fear concerning the solar and shade areas being an ideal match. Suppose extra concerning the colours, textures, and construction you wish to deliver to every space.

Q: How do I cease a backyard from dying in 110-degree climate?

A: Listed below are my tips about caring for a backyard within the warmth:

  1. Water. Water within the morning earlier than the warmth of the day to keep away from evaporation.
  2. Relying on the period of utmost warmth, it could be time to plant drought-resistant crops, particularly native crops that tailored to our local weather.
  3. Place containers and hanging baskets in a shady space throughout a warmth wave.
  4. Add mulch to backyard beds to assist retain moisture and maintain the soil cool. If excessive warmth is coupled with excessive humidity, evapotranspiration slows as does plant progress.  

Q: What are the perfect shade crops apart from hostas? I’m on the lookout for one thing with coloration.

A: There are such a lot of crops which are nice for shade that supply coloration and curiosity each in foliage and flower. A few of our favorites embrace:

  • Astilbe
  • Aruncus/goat’s beard 
  • Solomon’s seal
  • Ligularia 
  • Ferns 
  • Cimicifuga/snakeroot 
  • Bleeding coronary heart 
  • Brunnera 
  • Chelone/turtlehead 
  • Pulmonaria/lungwort
  • Polemonium/Jacob’s ladder 
  • Heuchera 
  • Filipendula
  • Bergenia 
  • Epimedium 
  • Japanese forest grass 
  • Girl’s mantle
  • Toad lily


Q: I’m petrified of leaping worms. How can I stop/deal with?!

A: Leaping worms are invasive worms which have made their solution to the Twin Cities space by the transport of crops and soil. They are often very damaging, particularly in main ecosystems as they modify the construction of soil and strip it of vitamins. 

My finest recommendation is to buy soil (bagged or bulk) and crops from respected backyard facilities. The Minnesota Division of Pure Assets asks that you simply report sightings of leaping worms. Destroy and get rid of leaping worms if you happen to discover them. After they grow to be established, there may be not a complete lot you are able to do. 

The concern of leaping worms is an actual factor and might be labeled as solastalgia, which is the stress brought on by environmental change. Many people will expertise misery over the implications of local weather change, invasive species, and excessive climate occasions. 

Learn extra about leaping worms by visiting the UMN Extension web site.

Q: How can I stop pests (rabbits) from consuming new progress?

A: That is the perfect weblog publish ever! “Learn how to Repel Deer and Rabbits within the Backyard

Eco-Acutely aware Gardening

Q: How can I be a accountable eco-conscious gardener (i.e., planting pollinator-friendly, native, and drought-tolerant crops)?

A: Simply the truth that of us are desirous about this matter is a step in the precise route. In case you are planting crops, you might be already a accountable, eco-conscious gardener. 

These are some must-read weblog posts on the subject:

Q: Learn how to plan a cohesive backyard that blooms all season lengthy?

A: Planting a backyard for steady coloration isn’t solely interesting to us but in addition has nice ecological advantages. Steady coloration means a continuing meals supply for pollinators and useful bugs. Discover out what blooms early, mid, and late in your space. At Tonkadale, we’ve a extremely nice chart! Additionally, concentrate to what’s blooming in your neighborhood or metropolis over the course of the summer season, then plant that!

Q: Actual discuss: How shut are we to a zone 5 perennial surviving within the Twin Cities?

A: Perennial survival is most carefully associated to how lengthy our lowest minimal temperatures are sustained. Within the Twin Cities, we will hit temperatures as little as -30 levels Fahrenheit which classifies us as Zone 4. Though the summers appear to be getting hotter, Zone 5 classification has extra to do with winter lows than summer season highs. In city or protected areas, warmth accumulates and gardeners in our space are capable of have success with Zone 5 perennials, bushes, and shrubs.

Editor’s Observe: This publish is sponsored by Tonkadale. The compensation we obtain in alternate for placement on Wit & Delight is used to buy props, rent a photographer, write/edit the weblog publish, and help the bigger group behind Wit & Delight.

Whereas compensation was obtained in alternate for protection, all ideas and opinions are at all times my very own. Sponsored posts like these permit us to proceed to develop dynamic unsponsored content material. Thanks for supporting our companions!




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